Berman & Asbel, LLP

How Your Planning (Or Failure To Plan) Affects Loved Ones

When you are doing your long-term planning and completing a will, one of your top priorities (if not the top priority) should be to document and protect your wishes. However, it is also critical to prioritize your loved ones' welfare as well. 

To do this, it is helpful to stop and think about what life will be like for your family if you take shortcuts or fail to plan thoroughly.

Fighting over your care

One of the most painful experiences your family may go through is making decisions about your medical care if you become incapacitated. And your spouse can disagree with your parents, who may disagree with your lifelong best friend who says you once had a discussion about this scenario years ago.

Without any guidance from you in the form of an advance medical directive or medical power of attorney, the fighting can become so bitter that it severs relationships.

Fighting over the funeral

In the aftermath of a death, family and friends are devastated and grieving. At that point, family and/or friends must also make decisions on burials or cremation, religious ceremonies and how to pay for everything.

One person may feel bitter if he or she is tasked with making the tough decisions, or too many opinions can lead to bickering and hurt feelings. It could get so bad that certain people choose not to attend any service or memorial that is ultimately put in place.

Fighting over property and money

Your assets and debt can create the biggest divide and cause the most contention among your loved ones. Splitting up money, property, items with or without sentimental value, and lingering debt that might exist without guidance can be stressful, overwhelming and painful for the people still grieving and emotionally drained. 

Considering all that loved ones can go through in the wake of a devastating loss, understand that you can ease some of the pain and frustration your family may experience, minimize the fighting and provide direction that will be critical during a tumultuous time. You can do this by creating a clear, comprehensive and enforceable estate plan with the help and guidance of an estate planning attorney.

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